Close Calls
By Suellen Wedmore     

            Every life should have nine cats

It was a Hollywood scene but my movie:

my Honda stalled on the railroad tracks,

the train flying toward me.

A screech of brakes—forty yards

is forty miles is forty years.

I woke on a blanket beside the pool.

I imagine it now: my father diving,

his arm stretching toward me.

What did it mean? My aching lungs?

Those inscrutable ripples?

Snow, a country road, a 180° spin.

Winter pivoted & my car swarmed

with cold white butterflies:

I released the brake until the horizon

steadied, the air giddy with lilacs.

Helmetless, I tumbled head over handlebars

onto the gravel beside the road.

Barberries blurred & bleated,

a stray dog licked my face,

& I was saved by two barrettes & a ribbon.

A saucepan boiled for hours, a campfire

burned all night. I kissed a stranger on a bridge—

it’s a miracle, I tell you, I’m still dancing—

& a rebuilt Varsity Schwinn

is parked on the lawn, tires inflated.

Hidden in my flea market clutter,

in my bottles & vases & miniature houses,

are many deaths, & yet today

I plunge a hundred wildflowers

into the soup can on my kitchen table.